Mandatory face mask use all day long. Plexiglass dividers between you and everyone else. Temperature taking at schools. Trying on clothes while wearing plastic gloves. Coronavirus antibody testing before you’re cleared to return to the office. These are some of the measures that could go into effect as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions begin to ease in phases across US cities and states and around the world.

Right now the outlook can appear bleak. But there will be many learning experiences and, perhaps, unintended positive outcomes in the world following quarantine.

There is no question that life as we know it has changed during COVID-19. Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind is, “What will life after quarantine be like?”

What will life after quarantine changes look like?

Could there be a baby boom prompted by couples spending more time together, not only living but working from home? Will air quality improve from reduced manufacturing and less vehicle traffic? Will managers and employees gain new perspectives on working remotely as opposed to traditional views on the workplace? Will there be a shift in education to offer more online classes for grades K-12?

One thing is for sure: We’ve all had the opportunity to see, hear, and taste what simpler feels like. Even though people don’t like being forced into anything, the massive push on the brakes gave people no choice but to slow down. We have heard from many that it’s been a mixed blessing. Trying to work, school, parent, and care for others with no support from other family members or friends has been challenging. Yet, the family time has been incredible. They’ve also had time to do many of the things they previously looked at and said, “If I had the time, I would…” 

Aside from lessons learned, what will it be like in communities, cities, states, and all the businesses within?

What will restaurant life look like after quarantine?

As restaurants reopen in their traditional dine-in way, patrons could be placed six feet apart and restrict capacity in order to uphold social distancing. You might order through a plexiglass divider at a counter, or your server might stand at a distance wearing a mask and gloves. Menus could be disposable or laminated and disinfected after each use.

In the warmer months, it’s possible we’ll see outdoor patios open to a limited number of seated orders, with tables and chairs sanitized between parties. Limited hours are probable. The most significant challenge dine-in service faces is the inability to wear a face mask while eating. If the coronavirus can transmit through droplets when you speak and breathe, in addition to spreading via coughs and sneezes, eating indoors could be riskier.

What will shopping mall life look like after quarantine?

Not every store within the mall may open at once. Individual retailers may choose to keep their doors shut. To help limit the spread of COVID-19, single-use items like shopping bags and coffee cups will be used exclusively, and shoppers will be encouraged to wear face masks. Employees definitely will be.

Store hours will be limited, closing early so cleaners can rigorously disinfect common areas and bathrooms, and you may have to line up outside a shop due to decreased capacity allowance.

 What will gyms, hair salons, and movie theater life look like after quarantine?

Essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores have been open, but smaller retail shops such as clothing boutiques, hair salons, and malls were all closed down and are just now slowly starting to open. Hygiene precautions have been put in place, like sanitizing your hands before and after leaving the business and wearing face masks or coverings. It’s possible that some services might be temporarily suspended if they put people’s faces too close together.

What will schools and university life look like after quarantine?

The question on every parent’s lips: When will schools reopen? In some countries, it already has, with students subject to temperature checks, distance seating, and rules about how often to wash hands and how many children can play together at once. Denmark was among the first European countries to reopen schools, at least for younger students. Beijing and Shanghai reopened classes for older students, with both teachers and students wearing face masks. 

Where schools are closed, school administrators, government officials, and teachers are all scrambling to create policies that keep students from potentially transmitting the virus when doors reopen. Some municipalities are exploring the potential of staggering student meals and schedules throughout the day.

So many other areas are in question such as hiking trails, beaches, concerts, sports, and other major events. A handful have already started reopening with social distancing, limited headcounts, and reduced hours seeming to be the common theme for safety.

Speaking to more of a reflective and personal approach to what like will look like after quarantine, First Things First conducted a survey asking people what they will “intentionally” keep doing during life after quarantine? Here are some of the common answers:

  • I will appreciate being in people’s presence more and giving and receiving hugs.
  • I believe I will be more compassionate and more eager to remind others of the need for grace, mercy, and love.
  • Less kids’ activities, keeping game and campfire nights.
  • I don’t think people will see me as much anymore. I am enjoying the slower pace, family time, and being able to spend time at home. No more running myself crazy to attend a million functions, meetings, etc. Spending more time just living.
  • I will be thankful for many, many freedoms I took for granted.
  • I’ll be cooking more for sure. And I think we’ve all come to realize we don’t need a ton of extra things to do! The girls will definitely come out of this as germaphobes, and I will take more precautions socially, too.
  • Probably continue large tipping when we eat out.

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